Shanghaied Into the Lonely Sea
Nice Man Music

Even if you’ve never heard Lars Attermann before, you’ve heard the voice. Well, you’ll think you have, anyway. Because the Denmark native sounds so much like Leonard Cohen channeling Johnny Cash that you wouldn’t be surprised to discover tracks called “Halleluah, I’ll Walk the Line” or “Bird In a Ring of Wire” on Attermann’s Shanghaied Into the Lonely Sea. What you actually will discover, however, is a unique Northern European poet and storyteller whose brief stints at the House of Songs in Austin helped create a collection of diverse and unique songs that should find him a home — and following — here in Texas and beyond because they’re centered on the most universal of themes: reflection and dissolution. Produced by Will Sexton and recorded in Buda, Texas at Screen Door Music studio, Shanghaied, Attemann’s second release and first in English, has that “larger-than-life” cinematic expansiveness and slightly off-kilter eerieness that one would expect to hear on a Quentin Tarantino soundtrack. On the opening “Into the Lonely Sea,” Attermann issues indictments to those who manipulate both our personal and political affairs and offers — as well the hope of redemption for those who succumb to such ways. “Close to You,” a haunting co-write with Sexton, features mournful guitar licks and Attermann’s desperate vocals pleading with a receeding memory in the wake of creeping dementia: “It feels like a funeral, where is the one I thought was watching over us?” And “Teardrop, Colorado,” a co-write with Martin Jensen that features some top-shelf harp work from Ace Acevedo, warns the listener to stay far, far away from the places and people that will only bring anguish and pain (“She don’t want your love, she only wants the brine.”) That’s a reasonating message in any voice and for every language. — D.C. BLOOM